Help needed at Cold War Museum
Cold War Museum curator John DePerro has spent the last year cataloging some of the $3 million's worth of artifacts. -- Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Want to educate the public about the Cuban Missile Crisis or the mysterious government-controlled Area 51?
After two years of assembling and cataloging its $3 million's worth of artifacts, the Cold War Museum is looking for a few good men – or women -- to become docents at a place documenting the era of tension between the United States and the former U.S.S.R.
The Vint Hill-based museum is only open two hours on Saturdays but the nonprofit's leadership wants to change that soon. This fall, museum chairman and co-founder John Welch hopes to start marketing the museum to a wider audience through a more robust press campaign including social media.
Ideally, the Cold War Museum will be ready for the public on a much more consistent basis by later this year.
However, as a strictly non-paid volunteer organization, Welch said the only way to get to that point is to have more help like curator John DePerro, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army who lives in the Vint Hill area.
DePerro and his son David, who will help market the museum, are doing much of the hands-on work on their own. Co-founder Gary Powers Jr. lives in Richmond while Welch resides in Raleigh, N.C.
"A lot of what I am trying to do is to take it from memoirs of history to where real people are doing this stuff," DePerro said.
Housed in a small two-story structure next to the Vint Hill Craft Winery, the museum's mission is two-fold: to tell the stories of people who lived through that age, and to serve as "lessons learned" from the turbulent relationship between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union, said Welch.
Every week, more and more people drop off Cold War-related items, said DePerro.
From U.S. liaison badges used in post World War II Berlin to pictures and mementos of The Privateer flight crew shot down by the Soviet Union in 1950, the Cold War Museum is a dynamic and fascinating piece of international history.
The Privateer is a U.S. Naval plane and was believed to be the first "casualty" of the Cold War.
"For me, it's a treasure hunt," said DePerro.
For the complete story, pick up a copy of Wednesday's Fauquier Times.
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